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  1. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    A debate forum

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Shadow Dragon, Jul 29, 2008.

    I think it would be a good idea to add a debate forum. There would have to rules against flaming, but writing out debates would help us become better writers. So does anyone think that its a good idea?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    This has been discussed before. It's a nice idea, but given how inflamatory the few debating threads we've had tend to get, it's probably not all that practical.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can practice writing persuasive essays in the Review Room -> Nonfiction -> Essays forum, and have it reviewed for the writing, with debating the content off-limits. There are plenty of sites where you can debate to your heart's content, but it's just too flammable for WF.org and the environment we try to maintain. We have enough problems even with moderated discussions about religion and politics getting out of hand.
     
  4. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, I have suggested this before also, I would love to see a debate forum. I would propose perhaps having a few moderators (maybe added to the team if the strain is too much) to keep an eye on it, but yes, I would love a debate forum. And if thet meant me giving a bit of my time to check things are stayng ... friendly ... then I would be willing to, as I think it would be a great addition to the site.

    Not only would a debate forum encourage people comnig out of their shells and giving their opinion on things, they can develop their debating skills, which may prove useful in later life, as their is always time in life where you need to know how to put forward your arguements constructivly and with some structure and ... mature sounding to it. Also, I think it would be smart to have it in a seperate forum, so that way people know that if they are including themsleves in discussion threads in the debate forum, there is going to be people disagreeing with them.

    There's my arguements for a debate forum anyways, as I would love to see one added to the forum. And yes, I would be willing to give my time to assure it is not become a big flame forum or anything, if it was needed. :)

    Heather
     
  5. tarnished
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    tarnished Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh...
    I would also love to see one of these. I personally don't think it would get flaming. See, the "god" board was sort of just...arguing after a while. When everyerything is in a debate form/ a debate sense it could be handled rationally and respectfully. I think adding a few Mods to this board would also solve the problem of people getting away with flaming. I'd be very willing to help Mod this board :D
    -Tarnished
     
  6. Haribol Acharya
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    Haribol Acharya Member

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    This is really an exciting idea. I choose to debate. Debate is the swiftest course to writing and indeed it retrenches the style.
     
  7. FlakeandFins
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    FlakeandFins Contributing Member

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    You could call it the "Adult Table." Maturity and formality required.


    edit: and spelling
     
  8. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really as we have many members who are not adult and would still like to participate in this forum. It could just be called the Debate Forum, as to stop confusion.
     
  9. FlakeandFins
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    FlakeandFins Contributing Member

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    Much like how many people who watch Adult Swim aren't actually adults. The phrase wasn't meant to be literal. The standards, however, were.
     
  10. Foxee
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    Foxee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen this idea on other forums and all I can say is be careful what you wish for. The mods are absolutely correct...a debate forum is almost impossible to moderate and will drag you far afield from writing. I would advise against it.
     
  11. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, but I bet all of the participants are though. I just think it is a little prejudiced to say "adult table", as even if you are talking about standards, I act more mature than some adults I know do, so it doesn't work either way.

    And I know that it can be the case of a lot of arguements Foxee, but I think that the memebers of this site are mature enough to handle it with maturity and respect for everyone's opinion. My suggestion would be to give it a month trail or something ... if it is too hard to moderate, or just not working, then get rid of it. But I really think that it would be nice to try it.
     
  12. Foxee
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    Foxee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to disagree. People are people anywhere. And people with the anonymity of the internet can be total jerks. Also, age doesn't matter. Some of the worst acting members that I've seen in the debate forums have been older.

    But, thankfully, whether or not to open this particular can of worms is not my decision. ;)
     
  13. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not nessesarily saying that people on this forum are more mature than any other, but we tend not to allow the more ... trouble causing ones to stay for long as this is quite a ... stricter forum, if you will, were the people who are only going to cause trouble and stir up crap in threads were people are discussing their opinions. I know you get complete jerks, both online and in real life, but these sort of people tend not to stick around here often, and it is not hard to let them know that their behaviour is unacceptable if they are just being stupid in threads.

    Obviously if there are more people flaming than discussing things, it becomes a problem, but I don't think we'll know that until we find out.
     
  14. FlakeandFins
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    FlakeandFins Contributing Member

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    I'm confused by what you're saying. There was no prejudice intended and I'm not sure what's so offending about it. Rather than turn the "debate forum" thread into an argument, I'm just going to say I was joking and no harm was intended.

    I agree. If the "God" thread was any indication, a forum like this could be disastrous.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My experience has been that once a controversial topic begins, passions and tempers do flare up, and resentments persist beyond that discussion.

    This site is certainly not immune.

    And I have received enough responses on occasions where I have shut down discussions that were going out of control to know that the arguments that take place do make many members uncomfortable.

    It's all well and good to say we'll limit it to a particular area, and that volunteers will keep a tight rein on it. In reality, it never works out that way.

    There are many places on the Internet where anyone here can visit to debate to their heart's content. Just come back here after you've gotten it out of your system. :) Let's keep this a haven where people can be free of that kind of conflict.
     
  16. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'd be inclined to take notice of Foxee here, since she has experience of moderating this kind of thing. I have grave reservations about this. Every other debate thread we've had has ended in tears, I think a forum devoted to it is asking for trouble.
     
  17. gigantes
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    gigantes Banned

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    yet this forum really could use more debate in my expert assessment. of course that's easy for me to say because i'm very comfortable with debating casually.

    it's not that debate is necessary, but debate is a way of maintaining sustained dialogues, and this forum seems to lack sustained dialogues. right now i see people popping in and popping out of conversations all the time and very few that continue a good, interesting thought. instead you have someone creating a topic and then everyone around at the time popping into that thread to give a one-post opinion to the OP, then all stampeding off to the next thread with very few if any returning.

    where is the real interaction? -you know, the glue that holds a webforum together and helps define it?
     
  18. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Three things I hate: going to the dentist, paying my taxes and censorship.

    All three are unfortunate necessities. I deeply dislike the censorship but the alternative is forum-anarchy. Such lack of language/behavior restrictions allows nasty, anonymous people to bully others. Personal attacks and profanity-laced tripe destroy constructive dialog. I've seen this time and time again on the internet. Fishing, writing, sports . . . the topic of the forum does not matter . . . when there are no rules and active censorship, conversations degrade very quickly.

    One of my friends owns WesternBass.com. He has struggled with these same kinds of censorship issues for ten years. At one time, he banned a group of abusers and they just changed email addresses, re-registered and came right back in. He tried creating a special uncensored/unmonitored "Lounge" where they could have a free-for-all. It worked! To get into this lounge, you had to read a disclaimer warning about the lack of limits but the only people who went in there were the idiots looking for a fight.

    What happened next was very interesting! This small, regular group of "Lounge Lizards" became bored. They couldn't out-profane each other or impress each other with their insults and personal attacks . . . so they came back to the regular forum! They NEEDED the reactions of others to feed their pathology.

    This brings me back to the subject of this thread. Yes, an unrestricted room . . . maybe call it the "Cage", after unlimited cage fighting on television . . . such a place would eventually deteriorate into personal grudge matches, complete with profanity, personal insults and threats. You may be tempted to say "Who cares?!" Let them role in the mud with each other so long as they don't take it into the regular forum.

    There are two problems I see with "The Cage".

    1) The ownership of this site probably does not have any desire to be associated with such behavior. That's why we already have the rules that we have! So, why should he waste time and money (bandwidth) adding such a feature for those who can't live with censorship? It's not his problem - nor should it be!

    2) The lesson from WesternBass is valuable. Funny thing about Cretans . . . they get tired of hanging out with themselves. Despite adding a private playground where they can purge their personal demons, they WILL be back!

    One more thought. There IS no middle ground. It could be argued that maybe the "Cage" should carry SOME of the restrictions from the site, but just be a little more liberal in applying those standards, thereby allowing for touchy subjects like discussing God and politics.

    WRONG! This won't work. First, what is the benefit to the site and its owner? Why should he "fix it" when it ain't broke? If people want to debate God, they can email each other or use the site's message capacity.

    Second, a special "moderator" would be needed to pass judgment on looser "rules". Another set of standards would need to be clarified and things could get very nasty, very fast during those few moments every day when the moderator chose to sleep!

    The only simple way to have a cage-match type room (anything goes) is you make it completely unrestricted and post a warning to any poor sole who might choose to enter. Then, let the "cage lizards" define their own world . . . but, again, I wonder what is in that for the site owner???
     
  19. Salinye
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    Salinye Member

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    I've moderated forums before and I think debate sections always go down hill quickly. Debate, in reality is NOT what it turns out to be online. On forums it inevitably gets ugly and over time the only people that continue using it are the people that like to "fight" as opposed to debate.

    I'm just speaking from my experience, of course. I don't think it has anything to do with the maturity or lack there of of the board community. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other, to be honest whether this forum has a debate section or not, as I would not frequent it.

    But speaking from a board owner/ moderator perspective, I probably would not implement one if the decision were mine.

    Just my 2 cents. :)

    ~S
     
  20. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you looking for a writing forum or a country club? LOL

    Seriously, I am not interested in debating global warming or the plight of the Baja Dolphin in a "writing" forum. I may entertain myself by "dropping in" on such a subject, but the visit will be short. I am here to learn and share information specific to writing. For socialization, I have a huge network of local friends, although I suppose different people come here for different reasons.

    As far as "debate", this is not the place I go to get information about serious non-writing subjects. Water distribution problems in California are a serious threat to numerous indigenous species in this area (the north state). I participate in heated debates about this matter on a regular basis . . . but not here. My arguments are with legislators and municipal directors, sometimes in front of a judge. And, I sometimes find allies in the strangest places. Environmental laws that threaten my hobby of bass fishing actually helped to impose limitations on excessive water exports from the San Joaquin Delta - the Delta Smelt is an endangered species, hence a federal judge recently ordered the pumps to shut down for a while. Shocked the Hell out of the SoCal water districts!

    My point is, I'm not sure this site should attempt to be anything but a writing forum. If I want "debate" on sensitive subjects, I go to the source where I find people who are passionate about the subject matter, or I go confront the folks with whom I have a differing opinion. I don't expect a bunch of aspiring writers to share my enthusiasm for the Delta Smelt.

    Just voicing my opinion. I'm not attempting to speak for anyone else.
     
  21. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think a debate forum could work as long as it is moderated. There will just have to be rules about it being a civil and mature discussion. Also, I love that the debate forum idea has become a debate. :)
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And because it has evolved from a suggestion, and opinions pro and con have been recorded, time to move on.
     
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